Syndicate content

Archive - Dec 13, 2012

Date
  • All
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31

Cancer Stem Cells Isolated from Kidney Tumors

Scientists have isolated cancer stem cells that lead to the growth of Wilms' tumors, a type of cancer typically found in the kidneys of young children. The researchers have used these cancer stem cells to test a new therapeutic approach that one day might be used to treat some of the more aggressive types of this disease. The results were published online on December 13, 2012 in EMBO Molecular Medicine. "In earlier studies, cancer stem cells were isolated from adult cancers of the breast, pancreas, and brain, but so far much less is known about stem cells in pediatric cancers," remarked Professor Benjamin Dekel, head of the Pediatric Stem Cell Research Institute and a senior physician at the Sheba Medical Center and the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in Israel. "Cancer stem cells contain the complete genetic machinery necessary to start, sustain, and propagate tumour growth and they are often referred to as cancer-initiating cells. As such, they not only represent a useful system to study cancer development, but they also serve as a way to study new drug targets and potential treatments designed to stop the growth and spread of different types of cancer." He added: "We have demonstrated for the first time the presence of cancer stem cells in a type of tumor that is often found in the kidneys of young children." Wilms' tumors are the most prevalent type of tumor found in the kidneys of children. While many patients respond well if the tumors are removed early by surgery and if patients are given chemotherapy, recurrences may occur and the cancer can spread to other tissues increasing the risks to the health of the patient. Conventional chemotherapy is toxic to all cells in the body and if given to children may lead to the development of secondary cancers when they become adults.

Stem Cell Random “Sticky Spots” Recreated by Scientists

Using synthetic foam type materials to mimic the natural process of creating the extracellular matrix or ECM – scientists, from the University of Sheffield and the University of California San Diego, have created the random stickiness required for stem cells to properly adhere. The findings will better inform researchers across the world of how to make their biomaterials appropriately sticky for stem cells to grow. Previous attempts to recreate the process have managed only a uniform spread of sticky cells meaning there isn’t the maximum, hindering the stem cells maturation into tissue cells. Professor Giuseppe Battaglia of the University’s Department of Biomedical Science said: “We used two polymers, one that is sticky and one that is not, which separate from each other in solution. Just like with balsamic vinaigrette, we shook these two polymers up sufficiently to form randomly distributed nano-scopic patches of the sticky material – the balsamic vinegar –in a non-sticky material, just like the olive oil. To put it another way, these two materials phase separate within the foam to give you regions distinctly of one material or the other.” At the appropriate ratio of sticky and non-sticky polymer, the researchers found that it is possible to tune the size and distribution of the foam’s adhesive regions: having less sticky polymer in the foam made its adhesive patches smaller and more dispersed, just as in the human body with natural ECM. Professor Battaglia and Dr. Priyalakshmi Viswanathan, who performed most of the experimental work, added: “What was surprising to the team was that when we allowed stem cells to adhere to the foams, we found that random stickiness versus uniform stickiness was required for stem cells to properly adhere.